Among the most significant changes are the new squad set-up which replaces the customisable character classes of old. Now, players will be able to create and fully personalize up to ten individual soldiers, all with custom loud-outs, gear, clothing and appearances. According to Activision, there are over 20,000 combinations – and players will be able to select female character models. Every player starts with just one soldier, but as they level up, they earn new unlock points which can be used for items, or for opening up a new soldier. Every soldier can be prestige just once, and now, when they prestige, they keep all their items. It's an interesting, more personal twist on the familiar class-based system, allowing fans to build a team of humanized characters, rather than anonymous class-based automatons.
Load-out options include more than 30 new weapons and a complete new weapon class, the marksman rifle, which operates either as a scoped sniper rifle or a single-shot assault. The game also features a dual render technology so when using sights, you still have peripheral vision around the eyepiece. Through the game, players earn squad points which can be used to unlock new weapons – but unlike in previous installments, these can be attained in any order – you just need to have the right amount of points for the item you want.
Similarly to the Black Ops II ten-point system for load-outs, Ghosts gives players a budget to be spent on primary and secondary weapons, items and streaks. Perks now have a value from one to five points each and players have eight points to spend on each soldier, although sacrificing the secondary weapon or some items adds more perk points to the wallet. As usual it's all about working out your play style and balancing everything accordingly.
There are 20 new kill streaks, including the ability to call in Riley, the game's highly trained spec-ops dog. Your canine scout will hunt and attack enemy players, and also bark when they're close, acting as a sort of tracking system. Other more familiar missile and aerial attacks have been re-tuned.
Strike packages are back from the Modern Warfare series, in their usual Assault, Specialist and Support flavors, though the number of air-based options have been lowered in flavor of ground items. A new satcom station, for example, replaces the old airborne UAV, making them more vulnerable – unless they're well hidden. Oh and Death streaks have been removed – an announcement that drew a loud series of whoops from the audience.